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The David in hand and a story about Terni in the drawer

by Agnese Priorelli

Barbara Petronio proudly shows the David di Donatello won last March for the best screenplay of the film Indivisibili directed by Edoardo De Angelis.

Barbara Petronio


Born and raised in Terni, she started working as a screenwriter at a very young age, and for this reason she already boasts the writing of many TV series and successful films: from A.C.A.B. to Romanzo Criminale – la serie, from Suburra – the Distretto di Polizia series, from R.I.S. – Crimini Imperfetti to Mozzarella Stories, up to the Mostro di Firenze and Le Mani Dentro la Città. His dream in the drawer is a story about Terni.

What’s your connection with Umbria?   
I was born and raised in Terni even though my family is not of Umbrian origins, but half Sicilian and for the other half a mixture of Scottish, Abruzzo and even a little Roman origins.

If Umbria was a movie, what film would it be?
The big binge.

Why this combination
I have always associated Umbria with great food.

Has it ever occurred to you to write a subject or a script on Terni or Umbria?
Yes, Umbria is full of beautiful stories, I have in the drawer a story about Terni that I would like to tell. Sometimes I take it out and I work on it in the spare time. Who knows that sooner or later it will come to an end…



From Terni to the David di Donatello: was it a long road? I read that three fundamental characters were your elementary school teacher, Roberto Benigni and the film producer Pietro Valsecchi.
Well yes, they were in three very different moments of my life. The teacher gave the opening words, made me understand the beauty of the stories and fantasy, Benigni was my first experience on a set. There I understood what it means to shoot a film, how complex it is and how much effort it requires. Valsecchi made me debut, put me in a position to work on important series when I was very young. A rarity for Italy.

A merit and a defect of the Italian cinema.
In the past, Italian cinema rhymed to originality, dramaturgical power and truth. Now it is a bit less, but sometimes come out of small jewels result of our film tradition and our imagination. The defect of the moment – I would say – repetitiveness.

How would you describe Umbria in three words?
Mystic, lush, strong.

The first thing that comes to mind thinking of this region.



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